The gift from Pat, BJ ’73, and Sandy Hiatte will improve the quality of life in mid-Missouri communities, fuel newsroom innovation and enhance the J-School’s unique legacy.
Columbia, Mo. (Nov. 16, 2020) — The University of Missouri today announced a $5 million estate gift that will be split equally between the School of Journalism and the Mizzou Botanic Garden. The gift comes from Pat and Sandy Hiatte, who went to high school in Jefferson City, attended Mizzou together and are now carrying out their retirement in New Bloomfield, Mo.
“The university is woven into the fabric of our lives, and that’s why it was so important for us to give back,” Pat Hiatte said. “We looked at each other and said, ‘What kind of good can we do?’ and the journalism school and the garden were self-evident.”
The $2.5 million estate gift to the J-School is an unrestricted endowment with preference for newsroom support. This forward-thinking investment will position the School to better meet emerging needs.
“Pat and Sandy are wonderful people who care about the future of journalism,” said David Kurpius, dean of the School of Journalism. “When I heard about their transformative gift to the School, I was overwhelmed with emotion. Because of its unrestricted nature, this investment will allow our newsrooms to innovate and move quickly to address change, which will continue our legacy of training the world’s best journalists. In addition to raising the prominence of the Missouri School of Journalism, their support also elevates the University of Missouri and the state of Missouri. We’re very proud and thankful for their generosity.”
Pat Hiatte, BJ ’73, studied newspaper publishing and has fond memories serving as the editor of The Maneater. He had a short stint working for a newspaper after graduation and used his clip portfolio to pursue his passion for trains. Pat spent 35 years at BNSF Railway, retiring as general director of corporate communications in 2009.
“Journalism was a way to get exposure to all kinds of people and all kinds of places,” said Pat Hiatte. “My journalism training gave me that curiosity to learn every aspect of what is to me still a fascinating industry.”
Sandy Hiatte also attended Mizzou to study Sociology, and ultimately finished her degree at the University of Missouri St. Louis. She retired as the corporate director of human resources at DynaCare Inc.
Their careers took the Hiattes to Texas for many years, and after returning to mid-Missouri upon retirement, the Hiattes grew fond of the local news coverage provided by the J-School’s professional media outlets. That, coupled with the appreciation Pat Hiatte has for his Missouri Method training, drove the couple’s decision to generously support the School and ultimately, their community.
“Journalism improves everyone’s quality of life because it makes us more informed,” Pat Hiatte said. “It exposes us to ideas we might not otherwise come into contact with, it broadens our horizons and increases our ability to learn and function effectively as citizens.”
“The fabric that holds our communities together is journalism,” said Kurpius. “It tells the stories of the people in our communities. It shines light on the public issues in our communities and the science and facts citizens need to make decisions within our democracy. This gift will ultimately make our communities stronger and better moving forward.”
Sandy Hiatte’s love of gardening inspired the other half of their $5 million gift to be directed support the Mizzou Botanic Garden, with an emphasis on tree projects like the Legacy Oaks project on the Francis Quadrangle. The main initiative of the project is to replace pin oaks with stronger, healthier white oaks in order to keep MU’s campus beautiful for years to come.
Updated: November 16, 2020